BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Andrew Tate, a divisive social media personality and former professional kickboxer, was detained in Romania late Thursday on charges of human trafficking and rape, according to local media reports.
Tate, a British-U.S. citizen who previously was banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech, was reportedly detained along with his brother Tristan in the Ilfov area north of Romania’s capital, Bucharest.
Romania’s anti-organized crime agency said in a statement late that four suspects, including two British citizens and two Romanians, were arrested on charges of being part of an organized crime group, human trafficking and rape.
The agency, DIICOT, said the British citizens recruited women who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion,” sexually exploited by group members and forced to perform pornographic acts intended to reap “important financial benefits.”
The statement didn’t name the Tate brothers. Photographs published by Romanian media outlets appeared to show Tate being led away in handcuffs by masked law enforcement officers.
DIICOT said it identified six people who were sexually exploited by the organized criminal group, and that five homes were raided on Thursday. The suspects were detained for 24 hours.
On Friday, Andrew Tate, who is known to express various conspiratorial views, tweeted that “The Matrix sent their agents,” without elaborating.
Earlier this week, Tate posted a video on Twitter of a mountainous region of Romania, the Eastern European country where he is reported to have lived for the last five years.
Tate also was embroiled this week in a war of words with 19-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg after he tweeted a picture of himself standing next to a Bugatti and bragged that he owned 33 cars.
Video footage from the police raid accompanying the anti-organized crime agency’s statement shows several blurred-out sports cars, wads of cash and a handgun.